Paul Sillett

EDL down but not out

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The EDL has fragmented since it suffered a series of defeats at the hands of Unite Against Fascism (UAF) over the past few years.

Its leader, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (AKA Tommy Robinson), defected to an “anti-extremist” organisation, abandoning his former supporters. The motley crew that turns out at EDL protests has been reduced to a handful of thugs, many associated with old fascist groups.

Stopping the BNP and EDL: Strategy of patience and small deeds

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Paul Sillet, UAF national campaigner

When the EDL first emerged in 2009 we thought, "What is this new beast?" We noticed that there were former BNP, Combat 18 and National Front types around the demos, if not necessarily on them. Those on the demos were mainly from the "firms" - football supporters involved in inter-club violence - and others.

The EDL were attracting supporters to the prospect of launching mini pogroms in places like Luton and Dudley. At the time we were facing a possible BNP electoral breakthrough alongside a growing fascist street movement.

The Clash

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The Clash, Atlantic Books, £30

What differentiates this book from being a stylish coffee table tome is that this is the band in their own words. Paul Simonon's wife, Tricia Ronane, with others, has put it together tastefully. Fans will recognise some of the material, but this brings it all home.

For old timers memories will flood back, and for fresher compadres a real sense of the excitement (and dread) of the late 1970s jumps from the page.

A quarter of a century on, the music and lyrics are as relevant and prophetic as ever. Like all great art it seems timeless.

The Rise of the Footsoldier

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Director: Julian Glibey

As Cass Pennant remarked after the screening, "It's a couple of notches up from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, but a shame it's based on reality."

The film is based on the experiences of Carlton Leach, who also narrates. Carlton was an observer, and participant, in the events on screen - events which made him known to many in East London. An ex-football hooligan, he survived an axe attack, an event that made him philosophical, driving him to move on.

Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten

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Director Julien Temple

Bang! The high voltage energy of Joe Strummer seizes you from the opening frames, as we witness our man rehearsing in never before seen 1976 footage.

In this beautifully evocative labour of love, Joe's friends, family and musical compadres gather round sturdy campfires - Strummer's favourite environment - to paint a warts-and-all portrait of a driven, complex diamond.

Blast of the Past

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Review of 'Stars are Stars', Kevin Sampson, Jonathan Cape £11.99

Stars are Stars, the latest novel by Kevin Sampson, will stick in the gullet of the promoters of Liverpool 08, European capital of culture, and their skewed sense of the city's regeneration.

Sampson, who is still living and writing in Merseyside, is one of a generation politicised by Thatcherism, the routing of the Nazi National Front (NF) and punk's musical earthquake. He wrote for music publications such as NME and Sounds and his interests in music and street culture are reflected in his novels. In Stars are Stars he brings that era back to life.

Age Shall Not Weary Him

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Review of 'Dare to be a Daniel', Tony Benn, Hutchinson £17.99

The title refers to an old hymn encouraging conviction when under attack, a hymn that Tony Benn has got continual solace from. Unlike another TB (Bliar), Benn isn't sanctimonious when expressing his faith and conscience. The raison d'être for Benn's ideas is clear. He wants to free society from malignant multinationals and media moguls, and redress the deep distrust in mainstream politics.

Sight and Sounds

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Joe Strummer's recent untimely death robs us of a true rebel, as John Rees explained (January SR).

It's hard to believe that I and 500 others saw his last ever show in Liverpool last November. Joe and The Clash politicised thousands, from their Rock Against Racism gigs onwards. Joe helped to instil anti-war, anti-fascist and anti-imperialist values that have stayed with my generation. He also made some of the most powerful, exciting music there's been.

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